‘I would be heartbroken’ - Woman’s fight to help best friend stay in UK
PUBLISHED: 06:30 31 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:48 31 October 2020
A Norwich woman has launched a campaign to raise cash for her best friend’s visa in a bid to keep her in the UK.
Louise Tingley, who lives in Wymondham, moved from Australia to the UK in 2015 on an ancestry visa following the end of her previous marriage.
Singer and teacher Mrs Tingley had saved up for the visa knowing it would expire this year, but was hit by the cost of a five-year international custody battle for her 15-year-old son, which depleted her savings.
The singer, who has been on stage with Grammy, BAFTA and Tony away winners during her 20-year career, has also seen her income severely impacted by the pandemic and due to having no citizenship was unable to apply for support from the government.
She is now applying for her Indefinite Leave to Remain visa and then British citizenship, which will cost more than £6,000 due to application and legal fees.
And knowing her friend would not ask for help, Hellesdon woman Samantha Day has set up a Go Fund Me page to try and raise £3,000.
The friends met working at Anglian Home Improvements in 2015.
Miss Day said: “We just hit it off. She has helped me with my confidence, I was shy and quiet and had my own problems.
“I would be heartbroken [if she had to leave]. I couldn’t imagine her being around the other side of the world, it would break my heart. It’s not easy to pick up the phone because of the time difference and everything she has created and worked hard for in this country, she doesn’t deserve this.”
Mrs Tingley married her husband Simon in the UK in 2019, after being introduced to him by her British grandmother in 2015.
Mrs Tingley’s grandparents are British, while her mother was born in Australia and has dual nationality. Despite being married to a British citizen, she must obtain a Leave to Remain visa first.
She is also a trained aromatherapist and is trying to raise additional funds by selling perfumes.
She said: “I feel completely honoured that she would go to this extreme, I’m not the type of person to ask for help.
“I’m grateful to have a friend like Sam. I have always found it difficult to make friends. She’s the friend I have always hoped and prayed for.”
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